The interim government of Mali expelled this Wednesday, July 20, the spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in that country (MINUSMA), Olivier Salgado, for alleged “biased publications.” The decision came after the official stated that the country’s authorities knew of the arrival of 49 Ivorian soldiers, whom Bamako arrested and later accused of being mercenaries.
Mali gives 72 hours to the spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA), Olivier Salgado, to leave the country.
“This measure comes after a series of biased and unacceptable posts by the data subject on Twitter,” the Malian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Bamako made reference to the information published by Salgado this month, when he stated that the country’s authorities were “previously informed” about the arrival of 49 soldiers from the Ivory Coast who arrived on a civilian flight at the capital’s airport.
It is about a group of soldiers that Mali arrested on July 10 and accused of being alleged “mercenaries”, after indicating that the men did not have any document that accredited them about their mission and pointed out that they gave four different versions about their presence in the country.
Communication from the MAECI inviting Monsieur @olivier_salgado Porte-parole of the @UN_MINUSMA à quitter le territoire national dans a délai de 72h, suite à sa series of publications tendancieuses et inacceptables porant atteinte au partenariat du Mali avec la MINUSMA et d’autres pays. pic.twitter.com/SasAXMWbmg
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mali (@MaliMaeci) July 20, 2022
The Malian military junta that currently controls the nation claimed that the MINUSMA official did not present evidence to support his version.
“Mali cannot ignore these actions that undermine the association with MINUSMA and other allied countries,” the statement added.
Côte d’Ivoire had indicated that these soldiers were part of a support group deployed in Bamako “regularly” and related to both the Sahélian Aviation Service (SAS) airline and the MINUSMA delegation.
Malian military junta under heavy criticism and accused of abuse of power
Military leaders, who seized power in a coup in August 2020, have been at odds with countries in the African region and international allies over delays in calling elections for a democratically elected government. alleged military abuses and cooperation with Russian mercenaries, amid a growing Islamic insurgency.
Last week, the junta temporarily suspended MINUSMA troop rotations, including those already scheduled, citing “national security” reasons.
The announcement was made days after the arrest of the 49 Ivorians who, according to the authorities, arrived in the country without authorization and whom they also accused of an alleged attempt to overthrow the military that controls the country.
But this is not the only action of the new de facto authorities against anyone who issues a statement against them.
On January 31, they also expelled the French ambassador, Joër Meyer, because two days earlier the then chancellor Jean-Yves Le Drian assured that the military junta was “out of control” and described it as “illegitimate”.
The Malian junta that controls the nation has emerged from two successive coups in 2020 and 2021 and is reluctant to return power to civilians.
With Reuters and AFP